inewsource is expanding environmental coverage, focusing on San Diego and Imperial counties, with help from the California Local News Network. Fields on either side of Old Highway 80 in Jacumba Hot Springs were approved as the site of a solar project, Oct. 21, 2021.

Why This Matters

Journalism and the communities that benefit from strong accountability reporting are under threat as newsrooms face budget and staffing cuts.

inewsource is a part of an exciting new effort to expand reporting in underserved communities, and we’re expanding environmental coverage in Southern California.

Next month, we will welcome Philip Salata to the reporting team as a member of the California Local News Fellowship’s first cohort.

Made possible through $25 million in state funding and a new state law, the fellowship, run by UC Berkeley Journalism, will provide two-year reporting fellowships to 120 early career journalists over the next five years. The fellows will be placed in newsrooms across California. 

Philip Salata joins inewsource to cover the environment as a fellow in the first cohort of the California Local News Fellowship. (Courtesy of Philip Salata.)

Philip will report on the environment and energy in San Diego and Imperial counties. He recently finished his master’s degree at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism where he was managing editor of USC Annenberg Media, a multiplatform news publication. Read more about Philip and the other fellows here.

Why environmental coverage, you may ask. For starters, the impacts of climate change are all around us, intersecting with just about every aspect of our lives.

Extreme heat and drought often lead to poor public health outcomes, especially for the most vulnerable of our neighbors. So do the activities of humans.   

Increasingly intense rain events have a way of exposing the cracks in our infrastructure: from overwhelmed sewer lines and flooded roadways to leaky roofs in our homes.

As we lean into green energy to meet state and local climate goals, Southern California’s deserts and rural areas offer favorable terrain for industrial solar projects, seen as a necessary solution to weaning ourselves from fossil fuels. But those projects often have major implications for the environment and their human neighbors.

Wildfire threats are impacting San Diegans with higher homeowners’ insurance costs in increasingly urban areas. Meanwhile, San Diego faces a major housing access and affordability crisis.

So where do we build? And how do we – the public and the representatives we elect to make decisions on our behalf – move forward with decisions that improve our health and quality of life? 

These are big, challenging questions and we’re excited for this opportunity to tackle them.   

Type of Content

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Jamie Self joined inewsource as deputy managing editor in June 2021. Previously she was the senior editor of politics and state government for The State newspaper, a McClatchy news organization in her home state of South Carolina. Before becoming an editor, she was an investigative reporter on The State’s...